I want to take today's post to highlight my very favorite pieces in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection.
They hang in the stairwell between the first floor and the mezzanine at the far end of the Modern Art wing. At first glance, I was delighted by their bright colors and their strange subject matter. Then, as I took a closer look, the masterful craftsmanship and stark realism of the forms, with fully saturated hues and invisible brushstrokes, just about floored me. With all the works that reside in the Met, it may come as a surprise that two "Gift Wrapped Dolls" (#23 and #16) by James Rosenquist could capture my fancy so completely — but I never claimed to be normal.
Sadly, there isn't a wealth of information on the web about Rosenquist, though I did find this interview with db artmag. I find it fascinating to read the artist's view of their own work and of the world at large.
Also, I think it's appropriate to include here another painting by Rosenquist, "House of Fire" (1981), which was fairly recently mounted on the second floor directly above the stairwell with the dolls. Famous for his "Pop Art" collages juxtaposing brightly colored, unrelated everyday subjects, Rosenquist's work just dazzles the eye.